Gamecocks Defeat Coastal Carolina 4-3 in Game 1 of Super Regional
June 12, 2010
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - South Carolina jumped out to an early four-run lead and behind a quality start from right-hander Blake Cooper and an impressive relief outing from right-hander Matt Price held on to a 4-3 victory over Coastal Carolina in game one of the NCAA Myrtle Beach Super Regional. South Carolina is now 47-15 on the year while the loss drops Coastal to 55-9 for the season. Game two is set for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.
Cooper went seven-plus innings and allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks to improve to 12-1 for the season. Price worked two scoreless innings of relief and struck out three batters with just one walk and one hit allowed to pick up his ninth save of the season. Coastal starter Matt Rein lasted only one-plus inning and allowed four runs, two earned, on two hits with two walks. He is now 7-1 on the year.
With South Carolina leading 4-3 heading into the fifth inning, the game became an intense, emotional affair as both teams pitchers battled to keep each other's offense in check. Coastal loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning only to see Cooper get out of the jam on a double play ball that deflected off his glove and back to second baseman Scott Wingo who tagged the base at second and threw to first just nabbing Daniel Bowman and keeping the Gamecocks ahead by a run. The next moment of truth came in the eighth inning as Coastal had loaded the bases with no outs. Enter, Gamecock closer Matt Price, who battled, as he struck out Chance Gilmore swinging, got Taylor Motter on a called third strike and ended the frame with getting Bowman to ground out back to him to keep the Chanticleers from tying up the game. Carolina came back in the top half of the ninth on a pair of one-out singles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Walker. CCU's Austin Fleet kept the Gamecocks off the board as he got Christian Walker to pop out and Jeffery Jones to fly out, keeping the Chanticleers within one run. Coastal looked to make a score in the ninth inning off of Price. With one out, Adam Rice worked Price to a full count and drew a walk to give CCU a base runner. With two outs and Rice still on first base, Rico Noel just got a handle of a Price pitch and beat out an infield single that was down the third base line to put a pair of runners on base for Coastal. Price kept battling though and preserved the Gamecock victory as coaxed Tommy La Stella into a fly out to center field giving the Gamecocks a 4-3 victory.
Carolina had nine hits to Coastal's seven on the afternoon. Bradley was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI and extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Walker also drove in two runs and tallied two hits. Noel and Gilmore had two hits apiece to lead Coastal Carolina.
South Carolina jumped on Coastal early with three runs in the top of the first inning. Whit Merrifield reached base with one out on a throwing error by CCU starting pitcher Matt Rein. On Merrifield's bunt, Rein threw low and first baseman Rich Witten was unable to control the throw to give the Gamecocks a base runner. Rein then struggled with control as he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. and hit Adrian Morales to load the bases with one out. Christian Walker delivered for South Carolina as he smacked a two-run single to left field giving the Gamecocks the lead. After a walk to Adam Matthews loaded the bases a second time, Kyle Enders drove in Morales with a RBI sacrifice fly to right field to put South Carolina ahead 3-0.
South Carolina extended the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second inning. Bobby Haney doubled, Scott Wingo was hit by a pitch and Evan Marzilli would walk to load the bases. With one out and the bags full, Jackie Bradley Jr. walked to score Haney. Coastal Carolina reliever Josh Conway got out of the jam though as he struck out Adrian Morales and coaxed Christian Walker into a fly out to center field limiting the Gamecocks to just one run in the frame.
Coastal cut that lead in half in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run homer from Daniel Bowman. After a two-out walk issued to Taylor Motter, the Chanticleers brought the score to within 4-2 as Bowman launched his 14th home run of the season just over the wall in left field. The Chanticleers crept to within a run in the bottom of the fourth on the back of three consecutive hits from Tommy LaStella, Jose Iglesias and Chance Gilmore. Gilmore's RBI bloop single to left field would score La Stella. Cooper worked himself out of a jam though as he got the next three outs, helping the Gamecocks maintain a 4-3 lead.
With his victory, Cooper now has 33 career wins at Carolina, one short of a tie for fourth place at 34 with Earl Bass (1972-75) and Greg Ward (1972-75). He is now third on the all-time list for games started with 59, passing Rich Pratt (1990-93) this afternoon. With a 12-1 record, he is tied for ninth at South Carolina for wins in a season with Dennis Lubert (1981,) and Earl Bass (1974).